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Miss Having Coworkers? Here’s How to Start a Writing Group

Writing can be a lonely road. Though working solo has many benefits, everyone has moments when they wish they could stop by a coworker’s desk to ask a question, get feedback on an idea or simply share a crazy client story. I worked on my own for several years before going in-house as a staff writer for a personal finance website. And, while I missed the freedom of working remotely, I loved the daily banter with my colleagues. Not only was the camaraderie enjoyable, it often sparked my creativity. So, when I returned to freelancing a year ago, I wanted to bring a bit of that feeling along with me — and I started a writers mastermind group.   What is a mastermind group? Napoleon Hill, author of The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich, is largely credited with introducing the word “mastermind” in the 1920s, though the concept has been around far longer than that. Organized by entrepreneurs across industries, a mastermind is a group of peers who meet regularly to set goals, overcome challenges and use their collective brainpower to accelerate business growth. Famous mastermind participants include Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates — even the Knights of the Round Table!   And they’re still very much in vogue today. As the legendary online entrepreneur Pat Flynn writes: “A mastermind group is mandatory to achieve online success… I would not be where I’m at today if it weren’t for the mastermind groups that I’ve been a part of.” My mastermind consists of five female freelance writers. We meet once a month over Google Hangouts to share highs and lows, resources and encouragement. I always look forward to our call, as it’s one of the only times I get to have honest conversations about writing with people who understand what I’m talking about. I also learn so much from my fellow group members, and love the support we provide each other. 5 steps for starting a writers’ mastermind group Becoming part of a writers mastermind can certainly be a boon for your career — and your mental health. So, rather…

13 Common, Clunky Sentence Structures That Weaken Your Writing

Blog writing — and, increasingly, any informative writing — comes with a unique challenge: Share quality information in a casual, entertaining and approachable voice. Be authoritative…but also, like, totally cool. While many people think the conversational tone of a blog means writing it will be easy, good writers know the careful calculation that goes into making something read like it took no effort at all. Unfortunately, too many writers try to achieve the tone by actually putting no effort into it. They write the way they speak — but forget one important thing: Writing can be edited. Sure, write like you speak…but better, because writing gives you the chance. 13 conversational tropes that weaken your writing Some phrases common to conversational writing always make me cringe. They’re not grammatically incorrect, and they don’t even break persnickety rules of syntax (think: never ending a sentence with a preposition). They just annoy me. Setting aside my own feelings, though, these phrases make writing feel sloppy, confusing and long-winded. Watch out for these 13 chatty sentence structures to tighten your copy and make your writing shine. 1. Just because…doesn’t mean “Just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the luxury of the family bathroom at the airport.” How many negatives do you have to dance through to decipher that sentence? The “just because…doesn’t mean” construction adds unnecessary words to your sentence and puts readers through an obstacle course to understand it. Here’s a clearer path through that sentence: “Not having kids doesn’t exclude you from enjoying the luxury of the family bathroom at the airport.” 2. Not only…but also “Not only did she wear a frilly purple dress, but she also wore a floppy yellow hat that made her impossible to miss in a crowd.” This is classic sentence construction. But it’s overused. Writers use it too often when all they actually need is an “and” to tie to items together. I assume the intent is to add weight to ideas, but it usually just makes the reader wait longer to understand the point of the sentence. Let’s try that…

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